The first 1.4 miles is the class III-IV part and is a significantly dewatered reach with a lot of action packed into a short distance. (Beware metal debris in river.) The remaining 3.9 miles is a paddle out with light rapids. (Some boaters may opt to just carry back up along the penstock.)
Don't let the lack of detail on this run dissuade you from interest! It's just that the action is so intense and continuous (at least if you catch it at flows over 1000 cfs) that I have not bothered to try to parse out (or name) individual features. Perhaps folks who have a chance to run this more regularly have or can come up with feature names and provided them via comments and photos.
As you come in sight of the powerhouse (and it's outflow canal) the major bulk of the gradient is over. Your option is to either take-out and carry up alongside the penstock, or to continue downriver, paddling 3.9 miles of low gradient (but well-moving water) to get to the next road crossing.
The following video (Via YouTube, courtesy of "Duck Wild Producktions") shows a high-flow (4,030 cfs!) raft trip down this stretch.
The "virtual gauge" used here is based upon two USGS gauges and the maximum penstock capacity. It should reflect the flow in the dewatered reach, but there are variables that could affect this.
This is a normally dewatered reach and flow needs to exceed the penstock capacity to provide good runnable flows.
800 to 1200 cfs should be an "ideal" for most folks
This reach has been run and is runnable at flows above the listed maximum, though at such flows it features exploding waves and large holes that need be avoided. Boaters considering a high water run should scout prior to running the section from the "Fingers" down through the slide sequence to get an accurate picture of the level of challenge involved.
Permits are not required for this reach.
We have no additional detail on this route.
Use the map below to calculate how
to arrive to the main town from your zipcode.
Ontonagon West Branch Below Victoria Falls
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